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Third-Period Struggles Continue In Edmonton

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

Colorado Avalanche forward Sven Andrighetto has been a bright spot for the club since he was acquired on March 1 as part of a trade-deadline deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

During a stretch where scoring has been hard to come by for many on Colorado's roster, the longest Andrighetto has been held off the scoresheet is just two consecutive games.

He continued his offensive output on Saturday night, as he was the only Avalanche player to find netting in the team's 4-1 loss at the Edmonton Oilers, potting his fourth point (two goals, two assists) in his previous five contests.

Unfortunately, that effort was all the visiting squad could muster, and Edmonton tallied twice in the opening stanza and twice in the final frame to take the victory.

Video: COL@EDM: Andrighetto lowers shoulder for superb goal

"I think we had great legs. Obviously, they get that first one two minutes into it, but we had a good response, and Ghetto gets one on the breakaway," team captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "Even though they have a lead going into the third, I still feel like we're in control most of the game, especially in the second period. I feel like they didn't really have much. We got some O-zone time, and I think the problem tonight was just they're blocking a lot of shots, and we found ways to get in the way of a lot of our shots as well and blocking our own. Didn't really test out the goalie as much as we wanted to."

Third periods have been an area of concern for Colorado as of late, as the club has struggled to hold onto leads or find the all-important equalizer as the clock winds down in the match. Trailing 2-1 with the final 20 minutes to play, the Avs again let the game get away. 

"I think tonight, obviously we didn't have a lead going into the third and we were kind of chasing it. Trying to push as much as possible," Landeskog said. "Then they get a couple power plays and they get some momentum off that. Capitalized on the power play as well. So against a team like this, especially in the third and in their building, you got to keep your sticks down and be smart. Tonight, that ended up costing us and like I said, we didn't get our shots through. Offensively, that ended up costing us. I thought we had a lot of good zone time and a lot of good movement, but we didn't get enough shots." 

The Avalanche had four penalties in the match, including two in the third period that the Oilers capitalized on to push the game out of reach.

"We knew we were down a goal, so we wanted to make sure that we were getting enough pucks and traffic to the net. I didn't think in the second part of the second period, especially, we didn't shoot the puck enough, and we wanted to make sure that we were getting down there," head coach Jared Bednar said. "There were some rebounds laying around the front of the net we were trying to track down and just make sure we were playing hard and finishing the game strong. The penalties ended up hurting us in the third period, obviously.

"I guess you look at what we gave up tonight. We turned two pucks over in the first period and they both ended up in the back of our net. We couldn't recover from the one, and then they make a nice play side-to-side on the one-timer goal there… We lost a little bit of steam in the second, I thought, with our offensive chances, and then we started to pick things up a little bit in the third. We had a couple shifts with some zone time and whatnot, but the penalty off the faceoff right after an icing and then the one in front of the net at the other end, it's tough to work through that, I guess, when you're trailing already in the game."



Just like on Thursday night, one key focus of Colorado's was keeping track of and shutting down Oilers forward Connor McDavid. The Nathan MacKinnon-centered trio of Sven Andrighetto and Mikko Rantanen were largely tasked with the job, though it was a team effort.

"In the first game, I thought the MacKinnon line was outstanding," Bednar said. "So that was the key factor in doing that, and tonight a bunch of different guys kind of shared that responsibility. Erik Johnson on the back end probably saw him a lot. On both nights, you got to give him some credit, him and his partner [Mark] Barberio. 

"You saw, he was dangerous tonight. He had some chances. He made some plays as he's always going to do. You just want to try and limit those and force him to the worst areas of the ice that you possibly can."

McDavid finished with one assist and two shots in 20:38 of ice time.



Calvin Pickard got the nod in net for the 41st time this season, turning aside 25 shots in the loss.

Pickard is now 2-1-0 against the Oilers in his career, and the other two games both featured similar shot totals. Pickard had 25 and 26-save performances in 3-2 wins over Edmonton on Feb. 20, 2016 and March 20, 2016.

Saturday's game was Pickard's first in the crease since Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center. Jeremy Smith was between the pipes for Thursday's 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Oilers.



The Colorado Avalanche played it's first-ever game at Rogers Place, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers, on Saturday. The $480 million (Canadian) project opened on Sept. 8, 2016, replacing the historic yet outdated Rexall Place.

The Avs were 28-20-4-4 all-time in Rexall Place, which opened in 1974 and was a mere 485,000 square feet in size.

Rogers Place is nearly twice that, boasting 819,200 square feet fashioned in the shape of an oil drop. The modern-era spaceship seats 18,641 for hockey, but it doesn't yet contain the same history as the facility it replaced.

The Oilers won five Stanley Cups (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1989-90 ) and appeared in a total of seven Cup Finals while playing in their original barn, which housed the team back when it played in the World Hockey Association prior to joining the National Hockey League in 1979.

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